Friday, 12 December 2008

Malaysia: PM Admits Corruption Hurts The Country

Agence France-Presse - 12/10/2008 9:48 AM GMT
Malaysia harmed by 'corruption is king' reputation: PM
Malaysia's reputation for being ridden by corruption is harming the country's prospects, Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said Wednesday as a new anti-graft body was tabled in parliament.
Abdullah also tabled legislation that will appoint a nine-member panel to advise the premier on the selection of judges, in a bid to address criticism that the judiciary is corrupt and incompetent.
"It will give a level of confidence in these institutions, higher than before, and negative perceptions will hopefully be reduced as much as we can," Abdullah said of the two proposals.
"We have to deal with the perception by businesses and industry that corruption here is king, and the judiciary is unsatisfactory and is not credible as all of this will affect our competitiveness," he told reporters.
The Anti-Corruption Agency which is being replaced has been criticised as toothless, and the new version is being promoted as having more independence and greater accountability.
However, activists say that the new commission should be also given the power to prosecute corrupt activities, currently the responsibility of the government.
Abdullah has been forced to agree to stand down in March and hand over to his deputy Najib Razak, after the government was punished in general elections this year over his failure to introduce promised reforms.
The premier came to power in 2003 with grand plans to revamp the police and the justice system, and root out corruption from the ruling party, but his failure to act earned him a rebuke at the March polls.
The Barisan Nasional coalition which has dominated Malaysian politics for half a century lost control of five states and a third of parliamentary seats in its worst-ever electoral performance.

A Really Sick, Heartless and Inhuman US Defense Secretary: Rumsfield Responsible For Detainee Abuse

Agence France-Presse - 12/12/2008 3:42 AM GMT

Rumsfeld responsible for detainee abuse: Senate report

Former defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other top administration officials are responsible for abuse of detainees in US custody, a bipartisan Senate report said.
"Rumsfeld's authorization of aggressive interrogation techniques for use at Guantanamo Bay was a direct cause of detainee abuse there" and "influenced and contributed to the use of abusive techniques... in Afghanistan and Iraq," the report concluded.
It said Rumsfeld authorized harsh interrogation techniques on December 2, 2002 at the US prison facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, although he ruled them out a month later.
"The message from top officials was clear; it was acceptable to use degrading and abusive techniques against detainees," said Democratic Senator Carl Levin, who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee that produced the report.
"Attempts by senior officials to pass the buck to low-ranking soldiers while avoiding any responsibility for abuses are unconscionable."
The committee focused much of its nearly two-year investigation on the Defense Department's use of controversial interrogation techniques, including stress positions, forced nudity, sleep deprivation and waterboarding, or simulated drowning.
"Those efforts damaged our ability to collect accurate intelligence that could save lives, strengthened the hand of our enemies and compromised our moral authority," said the report, most of which remained classified.
The coercive techniques first originated from a memo President George W. Bush signed on February 7, 2002, that declared the Geneva Convention's norms for humane treatment of prisoners did not apply to Al-Qaeda and Taliban detainees, according to the report.
Top administration officials, including then-national security advisor Condoleezza Rice, participated in meetings on the harsh interrogation techniques as early as that spring, the report said.
The Survival Evasion Resistance and Escape (SERE) training techniques, designed to teach US troops how to resist enemy interrogations, were the template for detainee interrogation.
The report, approved unanimously by voice vote last month in the committee, found it "particularly troubling" for senior officials to have approved the use of techniques "modeled, in part, on tactics used by the Communist Chinese to elicit false confessions from US military personnel."
The adoption of SERE techniques was "inexcusable," said Senator John McCain of Arizona, a ranking Republican on the committee and a former prisoner of war in Vietnam.
"These policies are wrong and must never be repeated."
McCain lost the US presidential election last month to Barack Obama, who has vowed to close the Us "war on terror" prison in Guantanamo Bay.
Former defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other top administration officials are responsible for abuse of detainees in US custody, a bipartisan Senate report said.
"Rumsfeld's authorization of aggressive interrogation techniques for use at Guantanamo Bay was a direct cause of detainee abuse there" and "influenced and contributed to the use of abusive techniques... in Afghanistan and Iraq," the report concluded.
It said Rumsfeld authorized harsh interrogation techniques on December 2, 2002 at the US prison facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, although he ruled them out a month later.
"The message from top officials was clear; it was acceptable to use degrading and abusive techniques against detainees," said Democratic Senator Carl Levin, who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee that produced the report.
"Attempts by senior officials to pass the buck to low-ranking soldiers while avoiding any responsibility for abuses are unconscionable."
The committee focused much of its nearly two-year investigation on the Defense Department's use of controversial interrogation techniques, including stress positions, forced nudity, sleep deprivation and waterboarding, or simulated drowning.
"Those efforts damaged our ability to collect accurate intelligence that could save lives, strengthened the hand of our enemies and compromised our moral authority," said the report, most of which remained classified.
The coercive techniques first originated from a memo President George W. Bush signed on February 7, 2002, that declared the Geneva Convention's norms for humane treatment of prisoners did not apply to Al-Qaeda and Taliban detainees, according to the report.
Top administration officials, including then-national security advisor Condoleezza Rice, participated in meetings on the harsh interrogation techniques as early as that spring, the report said.
The Survival Evasion Resistance and Escape (SERE) training techniques, designed to teach US troops how to resist enemy interrogations, were the template for detainee interrogation.
The report, approved unanimously by voice vote last month in the committee, found it "particularly troubling" for senior officials to have approved the use of techniques "modeled, in part, on tactics used by the Communist Chinese to elicit false confessions from US military personnel."
The adoption of SERE techniques was "inexcusable," said Senator John McCain of Arizona, a ranking Republican on the committee and a former prisoner of war in Vietnam.
"These policies are wrong and must never be repeated."
McCain lost the US presidential election last month to Barack Obama, who has vowed to close the Us "war on terror" prison in Guantanamo Bay.

Free Hit Counter